Specific Heat Capacity (GCSE Required Practical)

Happy Christmas! In the last full podcast of 2019, Thomas and Robin chat about one of the core GCSE Practicals: Measuring Specific Heat Capacity. Also, stealth physics in “fun” Christmas lessons.


  • Bikes follow up @ 00:54
  • Stealth Physics “fun” lessons @ 02:10
  • Chatting about measuring Specific Heat Capacity @ 15:50


Thomas doesn’t like “fun” lessons, and is a bit of a Scrooge, but Robin has a great one on Christmas lights that is much deeper than you think.

A few days ago we talked through doing the Specific Heat Capacity experiment and we talk about the cognitive load, issues and tips around doing this popular and classic practical. Although his drawing skills are as unconvincing as his podcasting skills, Robin shares these diagrams to use (or preferably ‘do better’) as the basis of some low cog-load instructions. Merry Christmas!

Equipment list

Step 1 – put oil in the openings in the metal block
Step 2 – insert heater and thermometer as show
Step 3 – connect the heater to an ammeter and a power supply, then connect a voltmeter in parallel across the heater.

Step 4 – read the current and voltage, then take an initial temperature reading and record as your t = 0 seconds reading. Start the stopwatch.
Step 5 – record the temperature every 30 seconds until the temperature hits 50 celsius.

Join in!

Please share ideas or successes – or indeed questions – on our Facebook Page: https://fb.me/physicstp .  You can also message us via our website contact form at the.physicsteachingpodcast.com, Twitter @physicstp, email using  the address given in the podcast (if we remember), you could even email us an autio file if you are feeling really keen.


The music is used under the Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 International License